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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

FROM   BAHR  TO   DEHMEL                           95

process of becoming man he was wrenched from synthesis with
the eternal. Music is the echo thrilled with pain of a lost divine
harmony. And therefore the nearer to music, the more divine is
verse. It follows that lyric verse is next in beauty to music; though
by the very nature of lyric verse the lyric poet sings of self, he
sings his intoxication with self, and is therefore Dionysiac. (In
illustration one might say that Burns's poem To Mary in Heaven
would be merely local gossip if it were not an echo in music of
the Urschmer^} The Volkslied clings in close imitation to music,
and is thus the ideal of a poem, which merely expresses what in
music is not expressed. The epic poet, on the other hand, is lost in
contemplation of images or shapes. Music symbolizes the universe
(Musik ist WeltsymboliK). As Wagner said, civilization is eclipsed
by music as lamplight is by the sun's radiance. Art saves man from
Buddha's denial of life; in utter disgust with life man is rescued
from the horrible by the sublime and from the absurd by comic
laughter. Greek art was saved by the chorus of satyrs. To the
Greek the bearded satyr was nature; and whereas the flute-playing
shepherd of modern pastorals was a pretence of nature, the Greek
satyr was true man; not in Gessner's Salonschdfer but in Haupt-
mann's Waldschrat, Nietzsche might have urged if he had read
Die versunkene Glockey is nature real and redolent. The regeneration
of myth which was the inspiration of Greek tragedy was killed by
Euripides, with his explanatory prologues, and by Socrates, that
spinner of theories; stripped by logic (or rationalism) of music
and mysticism, tragedy dies. But in German music (Wagner is
meant) there is an awakening of the Dionysiac spirit, and a rebirth
of (German) myth.

Nietzsche next, in 1873, launched an attack on David Friedrich
Strauss1 (1808-74) (David Strauss, derBekenner undder Schriftstelhr\
whom he angrily dismisses as a ^Eildungsphilosoph''\ that is, a scholar
who does not seek truth, because he thinks truth has akeady been
found by the mighty dead, a slave of barren learning, not a creator.
His next work, Vom Nut^en und Nachteil der Htstorieftir das *Leben
(1874), continues the attack on contemporary ideals of culture.
The study of history, he proclaims, is useless unless it is a fertiliz-
ing process creating the future: history studied on the principle
''fiat veritas, pereat vita* makes man passive, retrospective, a living

1 His Der alte und der mm Glaube> which has been called DteBibeldesBHdungs-
pM/isters, had appeared in 1872.